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SBA Announces Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition In USVI

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton has announced the launch of the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition.

The competition seeks to address the job skills and placement gaps faced by U.S. businesses by providing funding to create or expand programs with job-specific and soft skills training within existing makerspaces.

A makerspace generally is a collaborative workspace for making, learning, exploring and sharing.

“In today’s booming economy, our nation’s employers are searching for qualified workers to fill the increasing amount of positions currently available,” Pilkerton said. “The MaTCH Pilot Competition reaffirms the SBA commitment to supporting new forms of vocational education, developing apprenticeships, independent work, and cultivating access to entrepreneurship. This pilot competition will help empower a stronger connection between the maker’s community and job creation, and ultimately provide an added economy boost to communities across our nation.”

The MaTCH Pilot Competition challenges individual organizations or teams to utilize existing makerspaces to create or expand programs that provide the job-specific and soft skills training within existing makerspaces, including industry or trade certifications when feasible.

“The SBA believes that existing makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help increase workforce development in U.S. cities of our nation’s workforce,” SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo said. “Our goal is to have all program graduates immediately placed in positions with previously identified employers that are in need of skilled labor. We encourage as many applications as possible in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to further create jobs in our communities and spur our local economies.”

The SBA will award up to $1 million in total prizes to fund selected winning proposals.

Applicants must submit a business plan that, among other things, details their team’s qualifications, experience, and resources, the proposed training curriculum, the nature and length of the training/certification program and the number of trainees that will be accommodated.

Submissions will be accepted through July 8 and winners will be announced Aug. 6. Entry form, rules and requirements are available online at www.sba.gov/match

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